November sales stall but still second-best ever

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After six consecutive months of record-breaking numbers, November’s new-vehicle sales in Canada came up short of those for the same month last year — albeit not by much.

The 158,653 new cars, trucks and SUVs delivered were the second-highest tally ever for November, down just 1.2% from 2016’s all-time record. It was only the second time this year that monthly sales failed to surpass those for the same period last year.

Year-to-date sales of 1,914,551 vehicles through November are 5.0% ahead of last year’s total at this time, so a fifth consecutive record year with first-ever sales of more than 2-million units in a calendar year remain not just possibilities but near certainties.

It will take just 34,349 sales in December to break last year’s record and 85,449 to make the milestone 2-million mark. To put those numbers in perspective, 125,600 vehicles were sold last December.

Reinforcing the strength of this November’s performance is its SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized sales Rate), which topped 2.1-million, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants — the seventh month in a row above 2 million.

Detroit Three down

After a huge October, General Motors’ sales fell back to 23, 612 units in November, down 17.2% from last year, effectively ending what was shaping up to be a close race with Ford for first place in annual sales.

Ford’s 23,775 sales were down as well, but by just 2.8%, keeping them slightly ahead of GM for the month and maintaining a lead of almost 8,000 vehicles year-to-date, which will be difficult to overcome in the final month.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ sales were down by 7.8% in November, pulling FCA’s year-to-date loss further down to 3.5%.

Collectively, the Detroit Three’s market share is down by 0.5%, to 43.0%, from a year ago. GM gained 1.1% (to 14.2%) but FCA lost 1.2% (to 13.0%) and Ford gave up 0.4% (to 15.2%).

Secure in fourth place, Toyota’s sales were up by 3.0% in October, while fifth-place Honda gained 1.2%. Year-to-date, the two best-selling Japanese brands are ahead by 2.9% and 8.7% respectively, with Toyota claiming 9.9% of the market to Honda’s 8.8%

Nissan (+8.0%) has taken firm control of sixth place from Hyundai (-8.3%) with the Japanese brand’s year-to-date sales up by 9.7% and the Korean’s down 7.4%

Kia (15.5%) regained eighth place for November, as well as maintaining it for the year to date (+6.8%). Volkswagen, with a 31.8% surge, just edged ahead of Mazda (+4.6%) for the month, but the Japanese brand maintained ninth-place, ahead of the German marque, year-to-date.

Subaru (+8.0%) and Mercedes-Benz (+12.2%), claimed the 11th and 12th positions, both for the month and year-to-date.

Winners and losers

On a percentage basis, the biggest winners in November were: Volvo (+61.1%); Volkswagen (+31.8%); and Porsche (+30.3%) — the same three that topped the charts, in the same order, in October.

The biggest losers for the month were: Smart (-91.5%); GM (-17.2%); and Hyundai (-8.3%).

Truck sales, including SUVs, increased by 2.7% with 114,592 units sold in November, while passenger car sales declined by 10.0% with 4,061 units sold. Truck market share grew to 68.3%, year-to-date, while that for passenger cars fell to just 31.7%.

[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]

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